Neighbor decries 5-story incursion

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A Gravesend homeowner is crying foul this week charging that her modest two-story house on 65th Street is in danger of becoming a “dungeon.”

Vincenza Calcagno says that demolition to make way for a new five-story, eight-unit apartment house at 2173 65th Street has alreadydamaged her small wood frame house located next door

“I don’t want a big building next to my house because it will lose value,” Calcagno said.

Developers for the proposed project are seeking a variance that would forgo the eight-foot side yard requirement between their site and Calcagno’s property.

Without the variance, the applicant maintains that they will be forced to erect a 16 foot-wide building with a single apartment on each floor.

Harold Weinberg, the engineer for the project, calls that situation “absolutely unfeasible.”

Calcagno and at least two other neighbors opposed to the variance confronted property owner Ralph Strofolino and his team last week at a meeting of Community Board 11 held at Holy Family Home on 84th Street.

Despite the opposition, Frank Segreto, chair of the Planning and Zoning Committee, said that the only concerns he had about the project was that a dry cleaner not occupy the first floor of the proposed 55-foot, mixed-use building.

That set the stage for a quick motion and questionable 12 to 7 hand-vote in favor of sending the building application on to the Board of Standards and Appeals [BSA] with a positive recommendation.

“I think they gave them a big gift,” Calcagno said of the vote.

Calcagno and the development team exchanged ugly words outside in the hall immediately following the vote while the community board continued its agenda.

“I feel very bad for my house,” Calcagno said. “They said they don’t have to leave even an inch to my property. I feel that I have been threatened.”

Weinberg claims that the development team has been able to work out a compromise with another neighbor opposed to the variance, but that a similar alteration involving a building setback cannot be made on Calcagno’s side of the property.

As for the alleged damage to the Calcagno house, Weinberg said he was told that the owner had “made good.”

According to Calcagno, the demolition work done next door to her house cracked the porch and undermined the side of her house, allowing rain water in.

The BSA is expected to entertain the variance request at a hearing slated in the coming weeks.

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